One of our family traditions is to set up an ancestor altar for the All Souls / Day of the Dead / Hallows. It just seems like a natural time to do it. There are offerings of things that they enjoy, all of which gets composted the next day (I'm always surprised how drained of life those offerings seem). This is something we've done in an intuitive and organic fashion. So I'm curious, how do others honor their ancestors / beloved dead / heroes and martyrs and what resources are useful for those who might be new to it?
At the moment, I'm mostly saying prayers when I rise and when I go to bed, and make a point to remember them in my thoughts. Galina Krasskova has a ton of advice on ancestor work. I find her work very informative and helpful.
Last Edit: Sept 28, 2013 1:31:57 GMT -8 by tekalynn
Post by gkrasskova on Sept 26, 2013 22:14:32 GMT -8
Ancestor veneration is a huge part of my regular practice and also something that I teach. i can recommend some resources. There's a book called "Weaving Memory" by Laura Patsouris that is a how to guide on getting started in ancestor work and then I have a ton of articles at my blog krasskova.weebly.com/blog.html that you might find helpful.
I maintain a big ancestor shrine, with a separate section for the military dead in my home. I talk to them and pray pretty much daily and give offerings as often as I can (time and conversation I give almost every day). I've found that it took awhile for the connection to click into place, for me to sort things out with my ancestors nad probably vice versa too, but with consistent persistence it really paid off.
Around Samhain, because I consider the period approaching the inter-calendary days of Yule to be the effective end of the liturgical year, I do a major, really major ancestor feast and that usually carries over into day of the dead celebrations too.
Post by Heliocoptero on Sept 27, 2013 4:01:31 GMT -8
I keep daily, monthly and yearly practices in their honour. I have photos of deceased family members and pets in my mantelpiece and every morning I pray to them, as well as before going to bed and sometimes before leaving on a journey. I offer them a candle and incense three times a month and then there are yearly instances which call for a more formal ceremony with a ritual fire or a visit to family graves to pour beverage and leave fresh flowers. Lighting candles by the window is also an option. And at family dinners at special occasions (birthdays, Saturnalia, etc.), we leave an empty seat for our deceased relatives and collect food offerings to them that are then burned in the fireplace.
I'm still trying to figure out a good way to honour my ancestors. I certainly honour them at Samhain and during the Mysteries of Wesir, but I haven't got a regular practice yet. I think part of it is the lack of space. I don't have a place to use as a ancestor shrine, so I can't really tend to it. I still try to honour them whenever I find the time, though. I try to remember to raise a glass to them on birth/death days, particularly for ones I feel close to. That's about the extent of my practice, though.
Post by aclockworkireland on Sept 27, 2013 19:37:43 GMT -8
Live folk culture they passed on and tend the graves.
I used to do devotional stuff for my granda Ellis and call on his spirit to guide or protect me. He was a leader in our war of independance and our nation state makes people like him heros so hes always loomed large in my life... but that got fairly out of hand. Spirits are best left to do whatever they do when people die. Theyre different to us and TBH I really dont know what Im doing with them or how to find out what to do.
I do daily offerings to my ancestors, usually they get a plate at dinner time when we eat. I also do special offerings on Mother's Night and most holidays or when I have someone on my mind. I do special offerings on Memorial Day for those in my family who have served.
I have an altar with pictures of my grandparents I knew while living, my granddad's mother(I am *fairly* certain it's her when young), and some great and great-great relatives standing in front of the house my great-great grandfather built; I haven't added pictures of the other paternal great-grandparents because they were generally either sort-of or outright abusive, so I'm starting with who I have and addressing the unknown ancestors more generally for now. I know I should, and plan to, address helping/incorporating the great-grandparents eventually, but I think I need a stronger connection/better signal clarity with who is listening to me now before I feel capable of fixing problems. Will probably take a while.
As a Greek, I really haven't found a lot of research on a regular Hellenic ancestor practice. (Anestheria, hero cultus, calling up the dead for help/magic/etc, but that's really it. If anyone can point out any sources, yay and thank you!), but I refill my paternal grandmother's teacup with clean water every morning, do coffee on the weekends, and give them a meal whenever I cook(usually once or twice a month). I also, for the moment, celebrate and give them a food offering on the day after Noumenia, since I really do not internally understand the concept of/have not connected to the Agathos Daimon at this point in my practice. Perhaps that will be more significant to me if I ever have a household/family to take care of? (If anyone has personal experience with that I'd love to hear about that, too.)
I have a small shrine for my ancestors next to my shrine/altar for Hekate. I have 3 small candles for specific ancestors (Father, Grandmother, Grandfather) and a larger candle that I light for the more general ancestors, both spirit and blood related. I usually light candles and incense as well as give offerings during the Deipnon, as well as any other time I feel that I need to. I want to incorporate honoring the ancestors more, as it's both very important to me as well as being something integral to the trad I'm in.
In my daily practice I light candles to honour the ancestors of my blood, the land and of spirit.
I don't keep an altar to any of my blood ancestors as my family are quite distant and comfortable with being distant. As I've been quite distant from my grand parents in life I don't think they'd want me bothering them now they're dead. Although I do intend to go to my grandmother's grave around Samhain (she's the only grandparent buried near me) and pay my respects.
I work with the ancestors of my land in the sense of researching local history- finding out about the lake village on the marsh near the river Ribble, connecting with Castle Hill- a local sacred site and the generations of people who would have walked there. I also walk the old padways, bridleways and wagonways and find out about the people who lived in the old houses and farms and their ways of life. I've had visions of the land's ancestral past in meditation and journeying and often find the ancestors speak in my poetry. There's a couple of people I relate to directly but I feel more comfortable speaking with them out on the land or whilst journeying than involving them in altar work.
'Who knows the nights when the gates are open? Who carries the primrose, the wish-flower, the strange blossom that opens the doors to the hollow hills?' - Jan Fries
Post by redeseeker on Oct 20, 2013 17:31:25 GMT -8
My Life has been upended so much this year. I have a new job that has required a lot of traveling lately. I find myself speaking with my Parents (Father passed 10/13/2004; Mother passed 12/31/2011) when I board a plane or pick up the rental car or check-in at the hotel...Look what you've made possible! Thank You. You 'done good'. I am in awe of what they managed to accomplish.
I am still really trying to hash out my ancestor practice, currently I have a small indoor alter set up that is for both the Gods and my ancestors, though once I get the alter set up outside I think that I'll slowly transition my worship of the Gods primarily to the outdoor alter and keep the indoor one for my ancestors. My incense burner is a beautifully hand forged copper mermaid (beautiful, but not at all a Disney sort of Mer,) that I foresee still burning offerings to the Gods with but she'll stay inside and switch gears along with the altar.
Anyway, I don't currently venerate any of my immediate blood ancestors, though at the moment I have my Opa's old pocket watch on the altar next to where I burn candles for the ancestors. I'm focused on honoring those ancestors lost to the embrace of the sea and though I know that I have blood ancestors that were sailors and whalers I don't currently honor any particular ancestors even within that category.
Whenever I make offerings at the indoor alter I start with lighting the ancestor candle and may also say a hymn to them. I've been known to share pipe smoke with the ancestors as well, though I am often sharing that with the spirits of the land first and foremost.
I have an ancestor altar in my living room full of photos and candles. I always offer to them on Samhain, sometimes to an individual on his or her birthday, and tell stories about them to keep their memories alive. I also visit and tend the graves over Samhain at a little pioneer graveyard in my neighborhood which holds some of the ancestors of this place.
Here's an interesting question (or at least, I think it's interesting): How do you deal with living family photos versus those of the dead? For example, I have a pair of photos of a married couple, both taken when they were young, and in uniform. He has passed but she hasn't. I feel weird about hanging her picture with those of the ancestors, but also weird about keeping the pictures apart (they were married for 60 years). Thoughts?